Saturday, July 30, 2016

Matt Kalil

Vikings Wonderlic Test
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The turf at Lucas Oil Stadium is a proving ground for hundreds of college football players at the NFL’s annual Scouting Combine. There, potential first round draft picks and sleepers alike try to sprint, jump, and interview their way onto an NFL roster. It’s the blazing 40-yard dash times and impressive bounds that grab the headlines, but often, it’s their work behind closed doors that boosts (or hurts) a player’s stock.

Team interviews can make or break a prospect’s reputation with organizations. Maxx Williams, the former Golden Gopher tight end, reportedly came across as selfish in combine interviews last year, and his attitude may have turned a few teams off in the process. Eric Kendricks, meanwhile, was described as someone who could walk into a defensive huddle as a rookie and immediately gain the respect of veterans.

Sometimes, the fastest, tallest, and strongest players find themselves falling in the draft. All the weight and speed in the world can’t replace one of football’s most important requirements — cognitive ability. It’s why the Wonderlic Test, as parodied as it may be, remains a crucial aspect of the NFL Draft process and a key into the minds of gridiron greats.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Vikings rumor mill and speculation machine are both currently examining the situation in Minnesota regarding Matt Kalil and his $11.1 million salary for 2016. On March 9th, that salary becomes fully guaranteed and forces Rick Spielman to make a decision on the left tackle position very soon.

In a vacuum, Kalil is certainly a dubious investment when it comes to such a sizable chunk of the salary cap. However, that you’ll find someone to play the position better than him anytime soon is also a risky proposition.

The ideal situation, for both the team and the player, would probably be to come to a long-term extension agreement that lowers Kalil’s cap hit while also providing him some long-term guarantees. That also puts the Vikings in a position to again overpay, over a longer period of time, for a player that has been inconsistent (at best) so far in his career.

Vikings free agency targets
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The NFL League Year officially begins on March 9th, but there really are no timeouts when it comes to professional football. Once the final whistle blows at the end of the Super Bowl, front offices ramp up their efforts to improve rosters by making cuts, trades, and adding new talent.

That starts during Free Agency, which coincides with the beginning of the “new” year. Top-tier players, journeymen, and sleepers become available to the highest-bidding, and at times, most desperate teams. The Minnesota Vikings and general manager Rick Spielman generally take a cautious approach to the free-for-all extravaganza, finding value in lesser-known names who don’t dominate the headlines.

It’s an approach that recently brought players like Linval Joseph and Captain Munnerlyn to Minnesota; free agency additions that make an impact at a reasonable price. This year’s crop of players is filled with a few high-profile names, many of whom fans would like to see in purple and gold. But who would the VT Team like to see in Minnesota next year? I asked, and they answered!

Who is one player you’d like to see the Vikings sign in Free Agency?

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Second only to the NFL Draft, the first week of the league’s free agency period is one of the most exciting parts of the NFL offseason each and every year. Sometimes it works out and other times it does not for a team and their expensive new player or players.

It is always fun for fans to hope that their team goes out and signs the top available free agents, but that is not always the best strategy for their favorite team. Some fans need to be more realistic when it comes to who they think their team could sign.

When the free agency period for this upcoming NFL year begins on March 9th, there will be a few players that could land with the Vikings. Who are some of the more realistic options in free agency that could fit with the team in Minnesota?

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Pro Bowl was played last Sunday and boy, what a game it was. So many football fans were ecstatic that they wasted precious time of their lives to watch a bunch of professionals play two hand touch.

Not quite.

Not to mention the absolute worst part about the game being that the Pro Bowl was the last chance to watch anyone on the Vikings play football until next July. Well, hopefully these links will cheer people up enough to forget about a life without football after the conclusion of Sunday’s Super Bowl.

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